Reflecting on the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus, I see two seemingly different groups of people. There were the stately Wiseman. These men were sufficiently established in their finances that they could take two years way from the job and they could still provide wealthy gifts like gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Then on the other side of the economic pendulum there were the Shepherds. These were some of the lowliest of people. They would spend their days and nights out in the fields, no beds, no roof over their heads, just living in the rugged out-doors. The pay scale for shepherds was minimal, but it was a job.
Interestingly both groups were invited to see the newborn king. The Wisemen left their country of origin, their jobs and their comforts of life to travel for two years. They simply followed a star, somehow thinking that it would lead them to something special, something significant for their lives, a king. The Shepherds also left their jobs, perhaps they didn’t have as much to lose, because their jobs were not as significant, but a job is a job and when you are at the bottom of the barrel, anything is better than nothing. Leaving the sheep behind could mean that when they returned all of the sheep could have been lost, stolen, eaten or killed. The cost for listening to some angels and going to see the Christ child could have been significant for them also. Both of these groups left much in the hope of connecting with something significant. They went through challenges for the sake of drawing close to God and for the sake of following the directions which God had provided for their lives. Interestingly both groups had powerful experiences with God as they came to the Christ child.
However, I can’t help but compare these Wisemen and shepherds with the people of my own culture and society. Here in Canada, we have much, we have comforts, jobs, food and clothing. Yet rarely would people take two years of their life to whole heartedly seek Jesus. People find it hard to drive 30 minutes to go to a church service. Rarely would people take time to pull away from their jobs to obey the leading of God. Usually work, projects and activities keep us way from the God whom we know that we should wholeheartedly follow.
These Wisemen and Shepherds were different. They sought after something that they did not fully understand and received something worth seeking. Though we Canadians have so much, there is an emptiness in many that causes them to seek for more, however they do not obtain the true source of what truly satisfies.
This Christmas season, take some time to evaluate the extent to which you would seek the true living God. Would you drive across the city to meet Him? Would you take two years of your life to find Him? The beauty of Christmas is that Jesus Christ can be found right where we are, if we take the time to earnestly open our lives up to Him.